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  • Writer's pictureAlex Nicoletti

Why I switched majors twice

Updated: Jan 14, 2021

While I was growing up I had many different interests. I wanted to be a scientist (didn't know which type, I assumed it was one category), an astronaut, and an engineer. It wasn't until high school where my dream of becoming a filmmaker started. It was around the time Disney bought the rights to Lucasfilm and announced a new Star Wars trilogy and my imagination took off. Every single day leading up to the debut of The Force Awakens I wondered what the new trilogy would show us. Every day I made movie scenes in my head, dreaming of what I would do given the opportunity to make a Star Wars film. Those dreams turned into an obsession, and when the time came to pick a major for college, I was at a crossroad. What do I tell my parents? Do I tell them I want to be the next Steven Spielberg? They would have laughed at that idea. So I chose a more "realistic" major, Civil Engineering. I had been in a few wood shop and design classes in high school, so I assumed I would like engineering as well. I was wrong.

The first three semesters of college were the hardest times of my life. First semester wasn't the worst, I just simply hated my classes. The second semester was when things took a turn when I got diagnosed with Stage 1 testicular cancer. It was truly the lowest I had ever felt. To add to the diagnosis the first few people I told about having cancer made fun of me for it, making me feel even worse about myself. I grew unhappy with who I was, who I surrounded myself with, and especially what I was doing in school. Nothing made me happy. The following school year I lived with the same people who made me feel bad about having cancer. I had already signed the lease for the apartment and was afraid of not being able to find housing, so I thought I'd suck it up and live with them. Bad move. I spiraled into a deeper depression than what I was already experiencing and just felt stuck. I finally convinced my parents to let me switch majors and they agreed. What they didn't agree on was what major I was going to switch into. Since they were paying for most of my tuition they felt the need to control what I was doing with their money. I originally told them I wanted to switch into film, but they shot that down very quickly. I then thought about the organization Best Buddies International, something I had been a part of the previous three years. I had never given any thought of being a teacher but since I loved working with people with disabilities I thought that it could be a good fit. At least better than engineering. They approved of that idea and I switched my major to Early Childhood and Special Education for my fourth semester of college.

My life improved a bit. I liked my classes much more than I ever had, but there was still my dream of being a filmmaker. How could I make movies while being a teacher? The semester ended which meant I never had to see the people I was living with again and enjoyed my summer with friends. The fall semester of my junior year came around and I felt that I was wasting my time. Did I like my classes? Sure. But did I want to be a teacher for the rest of my life? No. So one day about halfway through the semester I started going to a therapist. She helped me through a lot of what I was struggling with and made me realize that I need to do what is best for me, not what is best for others. So one day I called my dad and told him I'd had enough. I was tired of continuing down the same path of a destination I was not looking forward to. I wanted to make movies. He seemed a bit startled of how intense I was talking to him, but he didn't say much. That week I made an appointment with a school advisor and officially switched my major to Film and Media Arts. It was too late to switch into the film school during that semester since I had missed the add/drop date for classes, but I finished the semester strong.

I have since graduated from college, and I can say that I have been the happiest I've been in a long time. It's been so long that I don't remember the last time I was actually happy with my place in life. I want to tell you this story because I know that I'm not the only person going through this. If you aren't happy with a certain aspect of your life, change it! I hated who I was living with, so I switched roommates. I hated my major so I switched majors. DO NOT surround yourself with negativity. You don't need to. There is no rule stating that you have to continue down the same unhappy path in life if you don't want to. As long as what you do doesn't negatively affect someone else, do whatever makes you happy. Do what you love. Love who you love. Be someone that you love. There's only one goal in this life, and that is to enjoy it.


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